Land Stewardship Program


In 2015, a Land Stewardship Program was developed to manage the growing acreage of open space and restored lands owned in fee by the District. As of 2020, the District manages approximately 25,000 acres of open space and restored lands throughout Pima County.

Program Mission and Goals

Mission Statement: To inventory, monitor, protect, enhance  and restore natural resources on District restored natural resource and open space lands with the goal of maintaining and enhancing “natural hydrologic and hydraulic stream flow processes” (16.04.030.C.1), and to support the Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan (SDCP) goal of ensuring “…the long-term survival of the full spectrum of plants and animals that are indigenous to Pima County through maintaining or improving the habitat conditions and ecosystem functions necessary for their survival.”

Restored Natural Resource Lands

Restored Natural Resource Lands include completed ecosystem restoration projects and any constructed projects with ecosystem resources that warrant additional monitoring and management for protection of natural resources. Information about individual projects can be found on the Projects page.

Open Space Lands

Open space lands are primarily acquired through the Floodprone Land Acquisition Program to preserve natural floodplain function, and includes undeveloped or partially undeveloped land that contain natural and cultural resources. An example of partially undeveloped open space lands is the effluent dependent reach of the Santa Cruz River from Ina Road to the Pinal County line. This reach contains a combination of natural resources and flood control infrastructure.
Program goals for open space lands include inventorying natural and cultural resources, threats, and hazardous conditions and preparing land management plans by watershed to guide resource management. These goals directly support the District's overall goal to provide comprehensive flood and erosion control by protecting and restoring riparian habitat and promoting increased groundwater recharge within floodplains while supporting Pima County’s (County) Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan and helping to fulfill obligations under the County’s Multi-Species Conservation Plan (MSCP).
The District is continually looking for ways to leverage available resources to implement stewardship projects on these lands. Past projects include partnerships with non-profits (see "Partners" tab). These organizations partner with the District by securing grant funding and organizing volunteers to implement land stewardship projects, including trash removal, non-native invasive species removal, erosion control, water harvesting, planting native plants, and educational outreach.



The following is a sample list of District Open Space properties found in each watershed. 

Brawley Wash Watershed


Canada Del Oro Watershed

Catalina Regional Park

Pantano Wash Watershed

Agua Verde Wash

San Pedro River Watershed

Buehman Canyon

Tanque Verde Wash Watershed

Bear Canyon
Isabella Lee